By Duncan Mackay

Angela Ruggiero_playing_in_Vancouver_2010December 29 - Four-time Olympic medallist Angela Ruggiero has announced her retirement from ice hockey, leaving her more time to concentrate on her career as an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member. 

Ruggiero, 31, competed 16 years for the United States.

The Harvard University graduate was just 18 when she won Olympic gold with the US team in 1998 when women's ice hockey made its debut on the Games programme in Nagano. 

That was followed by Olympic silver at Salt Lake City in 2002, bronze at Turin in 2006 and silver again at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Ruggiero also represented the US in ten World Championships, including in 2005 when she scored the shootout goal that gave the Americans the first of four gold medals they have won at the tournament.

In total, she finished her career having recorded 208 points for the US team, including 67 goals and 141 assists.

"I feel honoured and privileged to have represented the USA programme over the past 16 years," Ruggiero said.

"USA Hockey will always be a part of me and I will cherish the experiences and memories with this team.

"Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way.

"I am now looking forward to my next career, as well as continuing my work representing the athletes of the world through my roles on the International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Committee."

Angela Ruggiero_with_Jacques_Rogge_and_Adam_Pengilly
During Vancouver 2010, Ruggiero was elected by her fellow sportsmen, along with British bob skeleton rider Adam Pengilly (pictured above right with IOC President Jacques Rogge), as one of the 12 elected members on the IOC's Athlete's Commission.

In August Ruggiero was appointed as a member of the IOC's Coordination Commission that will be overseeing preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang. 

René Fasel, President of the International Ice Hockey Federation.led the tributes.

"Angela Ruggiero has defined this era of women's hockey," he said.

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